published Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Chattanooga Mocs roll to SoCon mat title

UTC 30, CAMPBELL 4

(Match started at 197 pounds)

125--Nick Soto dec. Eric Montoya, 7-1; 133--Alex Ward dec. Tanner Bidelspach, 5-0; 141--Dean Pavou major dec. Michael Dahlstrom, 13-2; 149--Alex Hudson tech. fall over Cory Wagner, 17-2, 7:00; 157--Nick Rex (CU) major dec. Trey Stavrum, 8-0; 165--Josh Condon dec. Paul Duggan, 12-7; 174--John Lampe dec. Taylor McGiffen, 3-1; 184--Robert Prigmore dec. James Cook, 5-4; 197--Nikolas Brown dec. John Merickel, 7-3; 285--Kevin Malone dec. Joe Nolan, 4-2, 2 OT.

The difference between first place in Southern Conference wrestling and second place was 26 points Monday evening.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga whipped Campbell University 30-4 to complete a 7-0 regular season in league matches and leave the Fighting Camels tied for second 5-2. It is the 27th SoCon wrestling title for UTC (11-6 overall), which will try to add the tournament championship and as many NCAA Division I qualifiers as possible on March 9 in Lexington, Va.

Monday's team matchup began at 197 pounds, where senior Niko Brown began a 21-0 start for the Mocs with a 7-3 decision that gave him a 27-3 record this season -- 15-0 in dual matches.

The next two matches were pivotal, as UTC heavyweight Kevin Malone pulled out a 4-2 decision in two overtimes for his 16th win of the season and 17th-ranked 125-pounder Nick Soto won 7-1 over Campbell's top wrestler, freshman Eric Montoya. It was the 27th-ranked Montoya's first SoCon loss.

After a 5-0 decision by freshman Alex Ward at 133, senior Dean Pavlou and junior Alex Hudson boosted the runaway with bonus-point wins. Nick Rex's major decision over the Mocs' Trey Stavrum provided the Camels (7-10) a brief respite, but senior Josh Condon, freshman John Lampe and senior Robert Prigmore closed out the rout.

Condon wound up 14-0 in SoCon regular-season matches for his career.

"I don't think it's the championship that is special. I think it's the people represented with those championships that are special," UTC coach Heath Eslinger said in a school release. "This is a great group of seniors, and the face that they got to go out in their last home match and get a win and a SoCon championship is important to us.

"What I liked about tonight is that it was dominating. We won the close matches and we dominated the matches we were ahead. That's the momentum that we needed going into the SoCon and the national tournaments."

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